Solstice Holiday Peace Candle—

Taking Back the Night

Just as the ear longs for the nothing of silence,
so the eye longs for emptiness of darkness.
The long northern winter nights
are the natural spiritual home of both.

On the road in the Northwest of America.

On the Affliction of War . . .

"Only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars ...
Men for years now have been taking about War and Peace,
but now no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer
the choice between violence and non-violence in this world;
it's non-violence or non-existence. That is where we are today."

from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last major address,
April 3rd, 1968, "I Have Been to the Mountain Top."

This is my argument:

War is illness. Not just because it causes suffering and death.
Rather that the way of thinking that sees war as a legitimate
alternative in resolving what are essentially problems of
relationship is itself an illness. An illness or disorder of perception.
War is illness because of the necessarily self-destructive
consequences of a way of thinking that sees the sharp, directed,
linear violence of war—a rock, an arrow, a bullet, a missile, a
laser weapon from space—as merely the ultimate phase of conflict
resolution. And here we expect the phrase to conclude with,
'between nations.' Why not member of a family. Why not neighbors?
Why not the bordering cities or states of a single country? No, you
do not pick up a gun and with it resolve a problem with your wife,
or your neighbor, or sister city across the river. No, that illness
has been healed by the balm of the rule of law. But between
nation states? Between systems of absolute belief?

From the surface of the Moon, looking down upon the magnificent
splendor of the living Earth as a whole, the notion of isolated petty
nation states or reactionary religious ideologies willing to sacrifice
with an utterly cold and calculated ruthlessness the future of the
planet so that the ideas they embody might prevail seems tragically
absurd. That is illness. From the surface of the Moon, the fact that
nation states spend one third of the world's resources either preparing
for war or waging it seems like such blatantly self-destructive waste.
That is illness. An illness in which the right hand of humanity believes
with the dogged rigidity borne of absolute conviction that it must
defend itself against the left, even if the whole body must thereby
be ripped apart.

From the surface of the Moon, looking down upon the magnificent
splendor of the living Earth as a whole, we can only demand that
the circle of the rule of law be extended to embrace the whole,
the whole magnificent splendor of the living Earth and the family
of humanity which is its most enigmatic child. That would be not
illness, but health, health in its most profound and beautiful sense.

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Photograph by Cliff Crego © 2007
(created: XII.9.2007)